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Kings of Pastry


Kings of Pastry
Chris Hegedus and D. A. Pennebaker, 2009
Sept 24, 2010–Oct 7, 2010
"It makes the Food Network look like reheated leftovers in comparison."—Village Voice

Sixteen pastry chefs seek the highest honor in their field in this documentary from the filmmaking team of D. A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus (Don't Look Back, Monterey Pop, The War Room, Only the Strong Survive).The contestants, who include some of the top chefs in the world, run through mountains of sugar, butter, and eggs during three intense days of stirring, sculpting, baking, and decorating fantastical, sumptuous, and delicious creations.

The filmmakers, who secured exclusive access to shoot this never-before-filmed event, follow chef Jacquy Pfeiffer, cofounder of Chicago’s French Pastry School, as he journeys to his childhood home of Alsace to practice for the contest. Two other finalists are also profiled in the film—chef Regis Lazard, who was competing for the second time (he dropped his sugar sculpture the first time), and chef Philippe Rigollot, from Maison Pic, France’s only three-star restaurant owned by a woman.

This is the final round in the pastry division of the prestigious Meilleurs Ouvriers de France (M.O.F., Best Craftsmen in France) competition, held every four years. During the grueling final competition, the chefs work under constant scrutiny by master judges whose critical palates will evaluate their elaborate pastries. Finally, these pastry marathoners racing the clock must hand carry all their creations to a final buffet area without shattering them. The film captures the high-stakes drama of the competition—passion, sacrifice, disappointment, and joy—in the quest to become one of the Kings of Pastry.

Wex film fans will remember both directors from past visits. Pennebaker visited in 2002 in conjunction with a short series of his acclaimed music films, including Only the Strong Survive, Down from the Mountain, and Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, which he introduced. Hegedus came to Columbus in 2006 to introduce Al Franken: God Spoke with that movie's codirector, Nick Doob.

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